Thursday, January 17, 2013
French Onion Soup
This is my all time favorite soup! I've been testing out different recipes and finally created the perfect mix. To me, the key ingredient in the soup is some type of wine. Many recipes call for red wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Sherry or Port wine. I've experimented with both Port and a combo of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sweet White. There was a very subtle difference between using Port vs. my red/white combo. Use what you have on hand or your personal preference. It takes so much time to do this recipe right, I like to take advantage and prepare enough for leftovers and to freeze.
8 yellow onions, halved & sliced
2 sticks of butter
5 T olive oil
10 oz. Cabernet Sauvignon
4 oz. sweet white wine
4 quarts stock (2 qts beef broth & 2 qts vegetable broth)
1 tsp dried garlic or 2 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
4 dried bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 baguette, sliced
Gruyere or Swiss Cheese
In a large deep pot melt butter and olive oil. Add onions and sprinkle generously with salt. Bring the pan to medium heat and stir onions to coat well. Cover, cook for 15-20 min. After this time, the onions will have gotten very soft and let off a lot of water. Remove the lid and continue cooking on very low heat. It will take at least 1 hour to caramelize the onions. There is no short cut for this process. In the hour, they will brown and develop a rich flavor. Slice bread and let stand. This helps the bread toast better and get less soggy in the soup.
When the onions are very brown and have gotten much smaller, add the wine and continue to cook until it reduces by half. Add the bay leaves, thyme and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Continue simmering at least 1 hour. Taste the soup, and season more as necessary. If the thyme flavor is just right, remove the sprig if using fresh. It should become thicker and completely delicious! Simmer longer until the desired flavor and consistency are reached.
Toast sliced bread on low heat until crisp, then cut into medium bite sized pieces. Spray edges of crocks with cooking spray. Fill ovenproof soup crocks 3/4 of the way with soup. Top soup with bread pieces and then cheese of choice. Place crocks under the broiler and continue to cook until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Mmmmmm! Enjoy!